Healthy Pasta

When I’m pregnant, a strange thing happens. I suddenly become a pasta fan. Don’t get me wrong, when I’m NOT knocked up, I don’t hate the stuff. I just have a general apathy towards it (and this was apparent waaaay before the low carb movement waltzed in and chucked a stake through the heart of everything noodle related). I’m not the kind of gal who will hit up an Italian restaurant (or any restaurant with a menu bigger than a single page) and order the Boscaiola . Give me a pizza (or steak) any day.

When I’m pregnant however, I suddenly grow quite fond of the humble penne. Fettuccine becomes my friend. I will happily cook AND eat a bowl with my son. It’s like the tiny person inhabiting my stomach takes over control of my tastebuds and points them in the direction of noodles.

Wednesday night at our place has recently become ‘Pasta Night’ this is due in large part to my husband playing soccer that night and pasta, in all its saucy glory, being one of the most excellent meals to eat in shifts. The toddler and I can dive into a bowl at our usual 6pm dinner time, while a large portion can wait, patiently biding its time, on the stove top for the return of the one we fondly refer to as ‘the daddy’.

While I’m not adverse to a bottle of the jarred stuff (the Aldi Organic variety is an absolute winner), I generally prefer to make my sauce from scratch. This is partly due to health benefits of being able to include (and disqualify) a bunch of ingredients and partly due to my deep desire to be a bit Nigella Lawson and stand over a hot pot of bubbling, starchy goodness.

Though I like to mix it up most weeks, I’ve now nailed two recipes that will continue to be on high rotation, probably long after soccer season finishes and quite possibly after this baby is born.

The first is a complete knock-together that I came up with last week when I couldn’t get to the supermarket and needed to make do with what was in the fridge. It’s a fettuccine based dish which stars organic sausage, red onion and pine nuts. And it is insanely delicious.

The second is good ol’ fashioned Spag Bolognese, with lots of added veggie goodness. This is Ollie’s absolute favourite dinner and I do a little happy dance whenever he eats it as I know just how much of the good stuff he’s getting in with every mouthful.

Without further ado, I give you my Wednesday night pasta dream team.

Wholemeal Fettuccine With Sausage, Spinach + Pine Nuts

 

Healthy_Pasta

 

Ingredients

  • 450g wholemeal fettuccine
  • 3-4 beef sausages, cut into chunks/discs (I use organic, grass fed sausages from our local butcher)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 25g unsalted butter (I love butter, you could use olive oil if you aren’t big on the butter)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil

Directions

  • Cook the fettuccine according to packet instructions and set aside to drain when done.
  • Melt the butter in a large frypan over medium heat
  • Add the onion and garlic and gently sauté
  • Add the mushrooms to the pan and continue to fry off till everything has softened.
  • Take this pan off the heat and set aside (I use two frypans for this recipe but you could scrape the onion mixture into a bowl, rinse the pan and re-use for the sausages).
  • Heat a small amount of olive oil over medium/high heat.
  • Add the sausages.
  • Fry over medium heat until sausages are cooked through.
  • Add onion mixture to the sausage pan.
  • Stir to combine.
  • Add fettuccine to the sausage pan.
  • Make sure everything is coated with the glorious fat that has fried off the sausages.
  • Stir through the pine nuts and spinach (the spinach will wilt slightly due to the heat of the pasta)
  • Transfer to a large serving bowl and scatter over parmesan.

Spaghetti Bolognese With Lots Of Veggies

healthy_pasta

 

* I allow this sauce to simmer for as long as I possibly can. If you’re short for time, you can cut the simmering time back but if you can manage it, the longer the better!

Ingredients

  • 500g wholemeal spaghetti
  • 500g mince (I use organic, 5 star mince)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 2 cans diced or chopped tomatoes (I love the Aldi Organic range)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 25g unsalted butter or olive oil
  • Sea salt and cracked pepper
  • Optional: 1-2 tbsp beef stock/broth (I add this as I think it intensifies the flavour plus the health benefits for homemade stock are insane. You can do without unless you have some knocking around in the fridge/freezer).

Directions

  • Pop all your veggies (except the canned tomatoes, that would just be silly) into a food processor.
  • Give them a good whizz to finely chop.
  • In a large, heavy based saucepan (I use my massive Le Creuset pot), heat the butter or olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add the veggie mix and gently sauté till soft.
  • Add the mince to the pot and break up with a wooden spoon to ensure it cooks through properly.
  • Add the beef stock (if using).
  • Once mince is cooked through, add tinned tomatoes, tomato paste and about another tomato tin worth of water.
  • Bring to the boil.
  • Reduce heat and allow to simmer for as long as you’ve got. Ideally 1- 1.5 hours is what I aim for. If the sauce appears to be thickening too much, add some more water. I usually keep the tomato tin handy and just refill it and add to the pot whenever I notice it drying out/thickening up.
  • Cook spaghetti according to packet instructions.
  • Toss drained spaghetti through simmered sauce, transfer to a large bowl and serve topped with parmesan cheese.

Are you a pasta fan? Do you have a favourite recipe? I’d love you to SHARE in the comments!

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3 Comments on Two Of The Best (EVER) Pasta Recipes

  1. Natalie Le Fevre
    February 4, 2014 at 3:07 pm (3 years ago)

    Ooh, I definitely LOVE pasta….my hips and waistline do too! I got pasta cravings whilst pregnant and whilst I’m no longer with-child (but I was ten weeks ago!), I’m still eating it a couple of times a week. My toddler also loves the stuff so it’s a no-brained as who can be bothered cooking two different meals these days?! One of the easiest and yummiest ones we have is Pesto and Haloumi pasta. Here’s the recipe for two servings
    pasta if choice (rigatoni or penne work really well)
    1 packet of Haloumi cut into slices (not too thin)…the recipe calls for 80gm but we LOVE Haloumi
    2 tbs Basil pesto
    1 tbs Sour cream
    1 tbs Lemon juice
    1 red capsicum cut into strips
    4 spring onions thinly sliced
    80gm snow pea sprouts cut into 3cm lengths

    1. Cook pasta and drain
    2. Spray a non-stick frypan with oil and cool Haloumi on both sides till it’s browned
    3. Add spring onions, capsicum, sprouts, pesto, sour cream and lemon juice to pasta and season with S & P. Gently toss to combine
    4. Spoon pasta into bowls and top with Haloumi

    Reply
    • Not Just A Mummy
      February 4, 2014 at 7:45 pm (3 years ago)

      OMG Natalie that sounds DELICIOUS! Thanks so much for sharing. Think I know what we’ll be trying for pasta night this week or next!

      Reply

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